Wednesday, March 26, 2008


VIŠEGRAD, Bosnia (March 26,2008) — The Mehmed Pasha Sokolovic Bridge in the eastern Bosnian town of Visegrad,a 16th century stone bridge over the Drina River,has been added to UNESCO's World Heritage List, the organization's director said yesterday.

The Mehmed Pasha Sokolovic Bridge is the second monument in Bosnia that UNESCO has recognized, after the Old Bridge in Mostar.

The 589-foot bridge has 11 stone arches and was built at the end of the 16th century.The bridge was named after one of the most famous Grand Viziers of the Ottoman Empire Mehmed Pasha Sokolovic, who was born in Visegrad in 1505, and who ordered the construction of the bridge to connect the banks of the Drina river once he returned to Bosnia as Grand Vizier.

The structure is considered a masterpiece of Ottoman architecture and engineering.

UNESCO has recognized its "outstanding universal value," UNESCO Director Koichiro Matsuura said in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo, where he was presenting the Bosnian authorities with a certificate on the listing of the bridge.

"Its cultural value transcends both national and cultural borders," he said.

The bridge connects the two banks of the Drina, which throughout history has marked the border between Bosnia and the genocidal Serbia.

Writer Ivo Andric, who was born in Bosnia but spent the second half of his life in Serbia declaring himself "a Serbian", won a Nobel prize for literature in 1961, following the publication of "The Bridge on the Drina", in which he wrote about the building of the Mehmed Pasha Sokolovic Bridge in Visegrad,and Ottoman times in Bosnia from the genocidal Serbian point of view.

During the 1992-95 Serbian aggression against Bosnia, Visegrad was a site where war crimes were committed by the Serbian aggressor against the town's Bosnian population.Some 3,000 Bosnian civilians from Visegrad were mass murdered by the genocidal Serbian aggressor, including 121 children.

During yesterday's ceremony in Sarajevo to mark the bridge's listing as a World Heritage Site, the Bosnian President Haris Silajdzic said that those who survived that part of the bridge's history "deserve our respect."

UNESCO Director Koichiro Matsuura's visit to Visegrad was canceled "for security reasons".However,the organizers of the event decided not to hold the ceremony on the bridge after the Bosnian Association of Women Victims of War announced plans to put a plaque on the bridge commemorating genocide victims from Visegrad at a ceremony that was to have coincided with the certificate-awarding ceremony.

Members of this Bosnian association put the plaque on the bridge and read out the names of 3,000 genocide victims from Visegrad.

The World Heritage List includes 851 properties that UNESCO deems worth preserving for their cultural or natural value. Sites on the list are eligible for funding and technical assistance from UNESCO to help with protection and preservation.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (March 26,2008) – The Bosnian President Haris Silajdzic met with the International Community's High Representative in Bosnia Miroslav Lajcak.They discussed several current issues, including police reform. The main topic of the meeting was the political situation in Srebrenica, both the current and in the post-local elections.

In that regard, President Silajdzic urged the High Representative to use all his possibilities and influence to make sure that the authority formed in Srebrenica in the post-electoral period reflects the structure shown in the 1991 census.

President Silajdzic emphasized that such an initiative is necessary in order to implement the Annex 7 of the Dayton Peace Agreement, as well as the ICJ verdict, the Bosnian President Haris Silajdzic’s Cabinet announced.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (March 26,2008) – A member of the international lawyer team,Semir Guzin,representing the families of the genocide victims from the eastern Bosnian town of Srebrenica who filed a lawsuit against the Netherlands and the United Nations in the Hague, stated yesterday that the start of proceeding is scheduled for June 18 in which all sides will have the chance to present their case.

Start of proceeding relates to the lawsuit filed by the families of the genocide victims from Srebrenica against the Netherlands and the UN for not doing anything to prevent the genocide committed in the secured zone of the UN in 1995 during the Serbian aggression against Bosnia.

The lawsuit contains 8.000 individual cases with around 6.000 plaintiffs.

The genocide victims' families launched the lawsuit against the Netherlands and the U.N. in July 2007, arguing the Dutch U.N. soldiers were to blame for the genocide in Sreberenica because they refused crucial air support to their own troops defending the Bosnian town.

The Dutch U.N. soldiers abandoned the enclave instead,and the genocidal Serbian aggressor mass murdered up to 10,000 Bosnian civilians who had relied on protection from the Dutch U.N. troops.

Former leaders of the Serbians living in Bosnia,Serbian war criminals Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic, both wanted by the U.N. war crimes tribunal in The Hague on genocide charges over Srebrenica, are still on the run.

Dismayed by the failure to bring to justice the two chief suspects, the genocide victims' families say they have turned to a Dutch court for recognition and redress for the tragedy.

The Dutch state has always said its troops were abandoned by the U.N. which gave them no air support, but public documents actually show a network of Dutch military officials within the U.N. blocked air support because they feared their soldiers could be hit by friendly fire, the genocide victims families' lawyers said.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (March 26,2008) – Bosnia's Prime Minister Nikola Spiric and Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan stated yesterday in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo that cooperation between the two friendly countries is good and that it should be improved in all the sectors that has not been done.

Spiric told the press after the meeting that the officials agreed that the friendly relations are not followed by a good economic cooperation and cooperation in all other sectors.

”The 2007 data state that we imported 270 million Bosnian Marks worth of merchandise and exported only 40 million Bosnian Marks. That says that the exchange and import-export balance has not been for the benefit of Bosnia. Strength of the Turkish economy guarantees almost certainly a higher level of trade exchange and we will try to correct that trade misbalance. We are pleased that there is an interest at the Turkish market for Bosnian goods”, Spiric said.

Spiric stated that Turkey has progressed on the scale of the most important investors in Bosnia from 12th to 9th position. He added that the investments in Maglaj and Tuzla are important for Bosnia. They opened jobs for about 1.000 Bosnian citizens.

”Certain problems in relation to the provision of materials should not be an obstacle to investment processes and we will do all in our power to remove all the misunderstandings”, Spiric stated.

As far as bilateral agreements are concerned, he is of the opinion that it is very important that the agreement presuppositions have been created.

”We expected and we now have been promised the support of friendly Turkey at the upcoming NATO Summit, which is very important for Bosnia, for we are about to be granted the intensive dialogue status”, Spiric stated.

He thanked the Turkish Prime Minister for supporting Bosnia in the process of stabilization, perseverance of peace and reconstruction. He also thanked for the projects of the Bosnian cultural and historical heritage reconstruction, like the Drina Bridge in Visegrad that was certified yesterday by UNESCO as a part of the World heritage. He also thanked for the engagement in reconstruction processes of the Ferhadija Mosque in Banja Luka and the Konjic Bridge.

”All of them are projects the Turkish government wants to support and we are greatful for that”, Spiric stated.

He informed the Turkish Prime Minister that Bosnia will support Turkey in hosting the EXPO exhibit in 2015.

”This visit is a sign of a new, stronger cooperation between the two friendly countries. We expressed readiness for cooperation in all sectors”, Spiric stated.

The Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan stated that Turkey and Bosnia share enormous cultural and historical values and that, starting from this fact, relations between the two states should be brought to another, higher level.

According to him, the meeting focused on sectors which enable intensification of cooperation and in which mutual support could be made applicable.

”We again emphasized the importance Turkey gives to the perseverance of sovereignty and territorial integrity of internationally recognized state borders of Bosnia, as well as to the perseverance of stability and peace. We also asked for a possibility to discuss events in the region and international relations”, the Turkish Prime Minister stated.

The meeting also focused on Bosnia's EU and NATO association processes, as well as Bosnia’s status within NATO.

”We emphasized readiness and determination to support Bosnia on the Euro-Atlantic road. That is primarily related to the NATO Summit in Bucharest”, Prime Minister Erdogan stated and added that there is a need for mutual understanding related to the Balkan countries and perseverance of sustainable peace and safety in the area.

The Turkish Prime Minister expressed determination to intensify and improve relations with Bosnia in all the sectors.

Answering the journalist’s question to comment the Turkish view of the current political situation in Bosnia, Prime Minister Erdogan stated that Turkey sees Bosnia from the point of view of its unity.

”Divisions always result in losses and make one lose power. In order for you not to weaken, territorial integrity is important in our view. We are of the opinion that it is of the outmost importance that the consciousness of being a part of Bosnia is developed between the people, for Bosnia is a good example of various ethnic groups, people of different cultures and confessions, living together”, the Turkish Prime Minister stated.

The Turkish state delegation also met yesterday with members of the Bosnian Parliamentary Assembly’s Houses’ Collegiums..


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (March 26,2008) – The International Community's High Representative in Bosnia Miroslav Lajcak said in the bosnian capital Sarajevo that there would be no new deadline after April 3 for adopting the police reform laws, and told the politicians in Bosnia that there is no more room to improvise.

On April 3, a decision which is good for Bosnia should be reached and this is in complete competence of domestic political parties and state parliament and everyone should be aware of that, stated the International Community's High Representative in Bosnia Miroslav Lajcak, commenting on the expectations after the Bosnian Parliament's House of Representatives postponed its session for April 3 in which they were supposed to discuss amendments to the police reform laws.

Session which was not held Lajcak commented as a sign of insufficient preparation for this session by political parties.

”There was good will present. I was in contact with all party leaders but it was shown that preparation was not good enough. Now we know how much time has left and I expect for them to use it without improvising and for them to agree in the parliament on one text which would be supported by all”, stated Lajcak.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (March 26,2008) – The FBIH Entity Ministry of Education and Science sharply condemns any form of segregation in schools in Bosnia and demands urgent interventions of all the authorities responsible, both cantonal and municipal, for the purpose of ensuring equal schooling conditions for all the children.

In a reaction to the recent events in Capljina, in which 170 pupils from the “Capljina” Primary School of Bosniak and Serb nationalities, attending lessons in Bosnian, were forced to leave the building and move to the Capljina Students Home, the FBIH Entity Ministry of Education and Science announces a clear attitude that children in Bosnia need to be raised and educated together, in integrated multicultural schools.

The Ministry announced at the very beginning of those misunderstandings that the Federal Minister Meliha Alic and the FBIH Entity Ministry of Education and Science representatives held a meeting with representatives of Herzegovina – Neretva canton Ministry of Education, as well as with the management of the Capljina primary school.

The meeting was aimed to find adequate solutions to the issues of schooling the Capljina primary school children.

”Then, as well as now, the attitude of our Ministry was clear and decisive – all the children need to be provided with the same schooling conditions. The FBIH Entity Ministry of Education is willing provide financial support to expand the existing capacities and make sure all other schools created the same conditions”, the FBIH entity government announced.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (March 26,2008) - The shareholders of Sarajevo-based Bosnian construction company Hidrogradnja have decided to form a joint venture in Libya. The company will be formed with a Tripoli-based partner, and Hidrogradnja will hold a share of 65 per cent. Supervisory Board's chairman Izmir Hadziavdic said the decision had been approved by the relevant ministry before that.

It is a requirement of Libyan laws that foreign companies operating in the country cooperate with local partners. Further details were not discussed at the meeting. Hidrogradnja already has 83 million Bosnian Marks worth of two-year contracts signed in the country.